Endometriosis, or Endo for short, is a condition where the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) grows in other places it shouldn’t, like the fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis.
When this lining breaks down once a month, it has nowhere to go – resulting in really debilitating pain. In severe cases, it can spell infertility.
As anyone with the condition will gladly tell you, it’s the fucking pits.
Endo is more common than you might think, too. More than 200,000 women in Victoria alone suffer from the medical condition. Many are unaware that the monthly pain they experience is more than just period cramps.
Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Halsey and Daisy Ridley are just a few recognisable figures who have spoken out about their struggles with the widely misunderstood condition.
In fantastic news, the good folk of the Andrews Labor Government has begun taking steps to assist women in getting diagnosed and finding the support they need by giving researchers a $100,000 grant.
The govt’s pouring some monies into educational resources for women, including:
– A pre-diagnosis brochure for younger women called ‘My period, what’s normal?’
– A pain and symptom diary women can use to record their cycles
– A post-diagnosis brochure, ‘Understanding Endometriosis’
– A tool for practitioners to support assessment, investigation and management of endometriosis
While the above mightn’t strike you as incredibly revolutionary, it’s a most necessary step in spreading awareness of the condition.
Proper diagnosis of the condition is tricky, and as a result, many women cop an average delay of seven years from onset to diagnosis.
This is particularly worrying when research suggests early referral, diagnoses and treatment is critical in limiting the long-term impact on women’s quality of life.
“Women with endometriosis often suffer in silence, both through pain and emotional distress, unable to receive the medical and social support they need,” says Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.
“Painful periods are not normal, yet teenagers and women might suffer in silence for years. This delay can mean their symptoms get worse over time, with major impacts on their quality of life,” added Dr Elizabeth Farrell, Medical Director of the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.
If you’re concerned you might be affected by endometriosis, you can access the aforementioned resources online at www.jeanhailes.org.au.
Photo: Cute Uterus.